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GM: what's all the fuss about?

European cultivation of GM crops is very small. Are we rightly shunning a dangerous technology, or irrationally missing a chance for better farming?

GM crops are now cultivated extensively around the world, but not in Europe. Why not? Is the apparent European antipathy to this form of biotechnology a reaction against science and technology in general? Is it based upon ignorance and unjustified fear, or upon reasonable and rational risk-assessment? More importantly, how can and should Governments respond to public concerns which can have powerful electoral implications for them, yet fall outside international regulatory frameworks which refer only to potential impacts on human health and the environment? Do these rules mean that Governments must simply dismiss public concerns and rely exclusively on sound science? Where does strategic responsibility lie? If Governments do indeed want to engage with public opinion, how are any – or all – of the relevant issues the exclusive province of scientific opinion? And if so, how far are they appropriate for public debate? What are the implications of the GM debate for other novel technologies?

This lecture will explore all these questions from the perspective of the highly controversial UK National Debate on GM in 2002-2003, which Malcolm Grant was appointed by the Government to lead.


Professor Malcolm Grant | talks | www


Date and Time:

17 February 2006 at 8:00 pm


1 hour



Gower Street

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Organised by:

The Royal Institution of Great Britain
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£12 (free for Ri Members)

Available from:

The Ri Events Team on 020 7409 2992 or www.rigb.org

Additional Information:

In association with UCL.

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